A major suburb just a few miles west of downtown Portland wants a dockless bike share system.
The City of Beaverton (population 100,000) has launched an official request for information (RFI) to learn more from companies that, “can provide useful and relevant information on a dockless bike share program.” Bike-share is called out in Beaverton’s 2017 Active Transportation Plan and city planners say it’s a needed weapon in their fight against congestion which is only expected to get worse as the city grows.
Here’s more from the RFI (PDF here):
“Metro anticipates that the Beaverton Regional Center will increase by 4,500 new jobs and 10,000 new residents over the next 25 years. As the City continues to grow, congestion on local roadways will continue to increase. As one way to help reduce or at least moderate congestion, the City is looking to increase multi-modal opportunities for residents to get to work, to transit, and in the case of walking and biking, as a general form of mobility and recreation.”
From the RFI language it looks like Beaverton wants to do a one-year pilot program and “if all goes well” they’ll make it permanent.
Some Beaverton residents are already familiar with bike share because Nike’s World Headquarters building has a Biketown system of their own. Nike is not only the title sponsor of Portland’s bike share system, they also provide around 400 bikes to employees and visitors of their HQ campus and nearby offices. The bikes are often taken from the offices to nearby transit centers.
Questions of potential operators in the RFI make it clear that the City of Beaverton wants to have robust access to system data and make sure the system is accessible to low-income people, is available for people without credit cards, and for people who don’t speak English.
One key detail not covered in the RFI is the geographic service area. Given the urban form and land use of Beaverton, this will be an important thing to get right.
Our Beaverton-based, Washington County contributor Naomi Fast says being able to use the bikes on major arterials will be a must. The caveat with is those arterials are managed and owned by the county and have 45 mph speed limits which could be a recipe for concern. “I think a dockless bike system in downtown Beaverton would succeed,” Fast shared with me today. “But even better would be if people found it possible to use the bikes along unincorporated Washington County arterials that border and go through Beaverton.”
The RFI was released the morning after an election that cemented a more multimodal slant in Washington County transportation politics.
The city will accept responses to this RFI until early December and use the responses to prepare a request for proposals.
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